There are two words I think of when I think of my next writer in “To Grow a Whisper,” my series of literary spotlights devoted to (mostly) emerging writers: isolation and comfort.
I distinctly remember an interview with Kendra Fortmeyer over at “The Toast” (RIP) where she talked about vampires, and how it would be “hard and lonely to live forever, even if you’re the most beautiful creature alive.” I think many, if not all, writers understand that line. Writing is our beautiful creature, and here we are with words we try to make live forever. It’s difficult, isolating work, but if we get it right we can help “someone else to feel less lonely for one damned second,” as Fortmeyer says. Her work tackles isolation but, like a friend, is also there to offer comfort and understanding.
I won’t forget the first time I met Matt Sailor, my fourth offering in “To Grow a Whisper,” my series of literary spotlights devoted to (mostly) emerging writers. I had interacted with him a little on Twitter, but it wasn’t until AWP in Seattle that we met in person while standing in line to receive our entrance badges. Even though I was basically an acquaintance at that point, he still (for whatever reason) came to my reading when there would have been so many other lectures and readings he could have attended. It meant a great deal to me (especially considering he isn’t a poet as far as I know.) It was then I knew he was a quietly, exceptionally sincere person. That sincerity is what makes Sailor such a strong writer. Talent, sharp wit, and imagination (yes, he has those things too) can only go so far if the author doesn’t give themselves over to a reader. When Sailor writes it’s a wonder there is anything left of him. (more…)
My third offering in “To Grow a Whisper,” my series of literary spotlights devoted to (mostly) emerging writers, is someone I’ve admired for quite some time. He is, in fact, the first person I actively decided to emulate on Twitter (good tweeters borrow, great tweeters steal.) His passion for literary advocacy and absolute sincerity won me over and continues to inspire. He is vulnerable, compassionate, and generous in the way you want any leader to be. And on top of that he’s exceptionally talented. Meet Justin Lawrence Daugherty, your new favorite writer.
If there are writers who pen hunger and desire as rapturously as Daugherty, I’ve yet to find them. His characters tear through the world with want, and every world he creates radiates with a fever-heat. (more…)